California Three Strikes Law“After Third Strike many now walk.”

Is the statement contained in the December 2013 issue of the American Bar Association journal. This statement relates to the fact that California has now begun to release prisoners after reforming the California Three Strikes Law.

The California Three Strikes Law which was passed in 1994 was advertised as a way to keep violent repeat offenders off the streets. The California Three Strikes Law doubled prison time for a second felony if there was a prior serious or violent felony as defined by state law. However, to qualify for the life sentence called for in the law, the third felony did not have to be serious or violent. Because of this, California courts began sentencing defendants to life for crimes like petty theft and drug possession.

Because of this law, second and third strikers made up roughly twenty-five percent of California’s prison population which caused a tremendous budget strain. Studies reflect that 3,000-3,500 of California’s current third-strikers under the California Three Strikes law are serving twenty-five years to life for non-serious felonies.

Accordingly, because of this, an overwhelming majority of Californians voted in 2012 for proposition 36, a new law that radically reformed the California Three Strikes Law. Under this new change to the California Three Strikes law, inmates who are already serving life sentences for non-violent, non-serious crimes can now file a post-conviction petition with the court asking for resentencing. Under the new law, inmates who have served up to nineteen years are eligible for resentencing which usually means release from prison.

If you, a family member or a client, are serving an extremely lengthy sentence because of the California Three Strikes Law and you want to look into getting the sentence reduced, contact NLPA at 11331 Grooms Road, Suite 1000, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 or call our office at (513) 247-0082.

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